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BACK TO SCHOOL EYE EXAMS: A PRIORITY


BACK TO SCHOOL EYE EXAMS: A PRIORITY

The beginning of fall is a busy time for families with school age children. In the midst of buying new clothes and school supplies, don’t forget about your student’s eye health and vision. Experts state that about 80% of what a child learns in school is presented visually. Vision and learning are inseparably linked.

When you factor in the use of computers and tablets, the visual demands of an ordinary school day are heightened and even more complex.

10 WARNING SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF EYE PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN

  1. -loses place while reading
  2. -avoids close work
  3. -holding reading material closer than normal
  4. -rubbing eyes
  5. -headaches
  6. -tilts head to use one eye only
  7. -makes frequent reversals when reading and writing
  8. -omits small words when reading
  9. -performs below potential
  10. -difficulty completing assignments


VISION SCREENING VS. FULL EXAM

Visual problems can manifest as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, functional vision difficulty, perceptual vision issues, color blindness. A comprehensive eye exam by a doctor who is experienced with pediatric visual health can rule out any of these conditions.

Students often are given a vision screening at school. These screenings do not take the place of a full eye examination. Screenings can spot some vision problems but often miss more than they find. Undetected and untreated visual needs can interfere with a child’s ability to learn in school and participation in sports.

Some drawbacks of relying only on vision screening are:

  • -Testing is limited: While distance vision is important, often screenings do not measure the eyes’ ability to focus at a close range nor their ability to work together
  • -Unsophisticated equipment: Specialized instruments are needed to provide more thorough results in examining the total visual system. Even in a pediatrician’s office, factors such as lighting, distance, and equipment capacity may affect the test results.
  • -Interpretations of results: a person who has not had specific education and training for vision assessment and diagnosis may not recognize a more subtle visual condition.

WHY COMPREHENSIVE VISION EXAMS MATTER

Good vision involves more than the ability to read at 20/20 on an eye chart. Important components of a comprehensive eye exam include: a health and vision history and evaluation of visual acuity, determination of any refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or amblyopia (lazy eye),

testing of eye coordination, and the eyes’ ability to focus, depth perception and eye muscle movement.

Some vision facts

  • -Poor vision affects learning and behavior
  • -Some eye problems can also affect neurological and physical development (ex.strabismus or “crossed eyes,” amblyopia or “lazy eye”)
    • -80% of all learning takes place through sight in the first 12 years
    • -Vision problems are the 4th most common disability in the US and the most prevalent handicapping condition during childhood
    • -10% of children who pass a vision screening actually have an eye problem that needs correction

In the busy opening days of fall, make time to ensure that your child’s eyes are all set for the requirements of the academic year. Make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam to be assured that he or she is off to a good start this school year.